Sununu opts-in for FirstNet after all

File photo by The Associated Press Governor Chris Sununu.

CONCORD – After originally looking at a startup company called Rivada to build its own network, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu reversed his decision to opt-out of the national FirstNet system built by AT&T, and will now join the majority of states opting-in.

As Wednesday’s decision deadline rapidly approached, other states didn’t feel confident in opting-out, leaving New Hampshire as the only state to opt-out, before Sununu changed his mind.

“While Rivada’s plan remains the better option for New Hampshire, I have determined that the additional risk associated with being the only state to opt-out creates too high a barrier for New Hampshire to continue down the opt-out path alone.”

With Sununu’s move to opt-in yesterday, New Hampshire will retain AT&T’s commitment to build 48 new tower sites throughout the Granite State.

“These new sites will lead to a top-quality public safety network for our first responders and enhanced coverage for all of our citizens,” Sununu said, adding that, “I look forward to working with AT&T as they begin the build out and deployment of their New Hampshire plan, and I pledge to continue our efforts to ensure that FirstNet remains responsive to the public safety needs of every state.”

FirstNet is an independent authority within the U.S. Department of Commerce that Congress authorized in 2012, creating a nationwide emergency communication system for

first responders to utilize in the case of a major emergency.

“I am glad to see the governor’s turnabout on his decision to opt-in with FirstNet/AT&T. FirstNet/AT&T is going to mean a reliable statewide public safety network for first responders that will also dramatically enhance wireless coverage for cell phone users in the North Country and other rural areas of the state,” said Executive Councilor Joe Kenney, District 1. “This was the right decision to make, and I am pleased New Hampshire made the right choice. I will continue to advocate for my district, and I look forward to working with state officials, FirstNet and AT&T as the new network is deployed in the coming months and years.”

State Interoperability Coordinator John Stevens also commented on Wednesday’s decision.

“While we are disappointed that the regulatory and financial hurdles for opt-out ultimately proved too high, we are pleased that the state’s vigorous pursuit of the opt-out path left us in a stronger position than any other state in the country.”

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.